Myanmar’s death toll increases amid protests and military crackdowns

Yangon, Myanmar (AP) — Security forces in central Myanmar fired on anti-coup protesters on Saturday for violence that human rights groups have killed 550 civilians since the military takeover on February 1.

According to the Myanmar Political Prisoner Support Association, 46 of them were children. According to the group, about 2,751 people were sentenced to detention or sentence.

The threat of deadly violence and the arrest of protesters failed to curb daily demonstrations across Myanmar demanding the resignation of the military and the resurrection of democratically elected governments.

According to a social media post, government troops fired at demonstrators in the city of Monywa in central Myanmar. One video showed a group of protesters carrying a young man away with what looked like a serious head wound when the shooting rang. His condition was not immediately known.

Local media quoted witnesses and reported that late Friday, armed plainclothes police detained five people after talking to CNN reporters at the Yangon market. The arrests took place in three separate cases.

The Myanmar news agency reportedly shouted for help when two women were arrested. A policeman with a gun asked, “Did anyone dare to help them?” Witnesses told the news agency.

“They turned their pistols at passers-by and people in the store,” witnesses said of two police officers who forcibly took two other women away in the market.

Meanwhile, the Karen National Union, which represents ethnic minority rebels who have fought the government for decades, has “non-stop bombing and air strikes” on its home villages along the Thai border and “unarmed civilians.” Blame.

“This attack caused the deaths of many people, including children and students, and the destruction of schools, homes and villages. These acts of terrorism are clearly serious violations of national and international law,” the group said. Said in a statement.

More than 12 civilians have been killed and more than 20,000 have been evacuated in Karen-controlled areas since March 27, according to Free Burma Rangers, a relief agency operating in the area.

About 3,000 Karen fled to Thailand, but many returned in uncertain circumstances. Thai officials said they had returned home voluntarily, but aid groups said they were unsafe and many were hiding in the jungles and caves on the Myanmar side of the border.

Over a dozen minority groups have sought greater autonomy from the central government for decades, sometimes through armed struggles. Several major groups, including Kachin, Karen and Rakhine Arakan troops, have accused the coup and said they would defend protesters on their territory.

After several weeks of nighttime blockages of Internet access, on Friday the Myanmar military closed all links except those using fiber optic cables that were operating at significantly slower speeds. On Saturday, access to mobile networks and all wireless (a cheap option used by most people in developing countries) remained blocked.

The coup has reversed many years of slow progress towards democracy in Myanmar. It has declined for 50 years under a strict military regime leading to international isolation and sanctions. With the generals loosening their grip and Aung San Suu Kyi’s leadership in the 2015 elections, the international community responded by lifting most sanctions and investing in the country.